Working for you
Please retain these terms of engagement as the basis of our relationship. By instructing us you are deemed to have accepted these terms which shall apply whenever you ask us to act for you, unless varied by us in writing.
The particular services we will provide are outlined in our engagement letter, along with any limits to our obligations or exclusions of liability. By instructing us you authorise us, at your cost, to make such enquiries and disclose such information provided by you as we may consider appropriate, and to engage such other professionals as we think necessary, to fulfill your instructions.
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How we will charge
We usually charge on a range of factors adopted by the New Zealand Law Society. The time incurred is charged at $280 plus GST per hour for a legal executive and $380 plus GST per hour for a lawyer. Please note that time spent on your matter is only one factor and our fee may also take into account:
We will usually try and estimate for you, in advance, the likely cost of your job. However, because legal services are subject to significant variables (e.g. timely and expedient cooperation of third parties, ability to resolve outstanding issues with or without additional attendances and time) and our estimates are based on our professional judgment of similar, trouble-free transactions, any estimate will be a guide only and not a fixed quote.
We will try to advise you if it appears we will exceed our estimated fee, although sometimes additional work or unforeseen complications arise suddenly, or at the end of a job, which means that this is not always possible.
All fees estimated are plus GST, expenses and disbursements. Disbursements include costs we may have to incur on your behalf in carrying out your instructions. Some services charged to you may be contracted out by us to other service providers (such as valuation reports, title searches etc.). We may charge an office service fee for expenses such as internal photocopying, tolls, faxes etc.
Ongoing work is usually invoiced monthly. Transactional work will usually be invoiced upon completion. You will be provided with a trust account statement if we have handled any funds on your behalf.
We may ask for funds from you in advance to pay for disbursements (e.g. Court filing and registration fees) or for our fees. Where we hold or receive funds on your behalf, we will deduct invoices owing to us from those funds before disbursing the balance to you.
Payment of our invoices
Where we hold funds for you, payment of all outstanding invoices will normally be deducted from those. If we are not holding funds for you then our invoices can be paid by cash, cheque, or electronically into Cockcroft d’Young Moorhouse Trust Account, ASB, Devonport, account number 12 3109 0077400 02, quoting your name and the matter number in the reference.
Unless otherwise agreed, our invoices are payable within 14 days from the date of receipt of the invoice. Monthly statements will be sent for any overdue invoices. We sometimes offer instalment payments of our invoices – please ask us about details.
Delay or difficulty in paying our invoice
If you are unable to pay our invoice on time or you have any questions about an invoice, you must raise this within seven days from the date the invoice is received with the person responsible for your work, or our Accountant.
Unless prior arrangements have been made, we reserve the right to charge interest on any invoice remaining unpaid after the due date calculated from the date of the invoice, at the ASB Bank’s business lending base rate applying at the date of the invoice. If any invoice remains unpaid, we reserve the right to cease doing any further work until the invoice is paid. We may ask for funds on account of future work, and by instructing us you authorise us to retain possession of your file and any documents belonging to you until we have been paid in full. We may refer your account to a debt collection service if unpaid by the due date. Any debt collection costs will be passed on to you and this may impair your credit rating.
Interest on money we hold in trust for you
We will often lodge funds greater than $5,000 (which we expect to hold on your behalf in our trust account for over two weeks) in an interest-bearing bank deposit account ("IBD"). Withholding tax will be deducted and paid to the Inland Revenue Department on the interest earned. If you provide your IRD number, withholding tax can be deducted at your tax rate. Otherwise it will be deducted at 33 % as required by the IRD. If we place funds on IBD, we charge 5% commission on the gross interest earned for administering the deposit.
Some services relevant to your instructions such as searching and registration may be provided by Codymo Agencies Limited, a company in which we have an interest. This company will charge for agency services as well as any direct costs it incurs.
Conflicts of interest
From time to time a conflict of interest may arise. If this occurs we will contact you to discuss and suggest what to do next.
Limitation of liability, duty of care and director personally responsible for fees when acting for a company
We do not accept liability for any loss arising from non receipt of any communication, including email communication.
Our duty of care is to you and not to any other person. Before any other person may rely on our advice, we must expressly agree to this.
If you are a company, then the director from whom we take instructions personally guarantees payment by the company to us.
Information we hold about you
In accordance with the Privacy Act 1993, you have a right to view and access any information that we hold about you, and ask for incorrect information to be corrected. All information about you that we collect and store, will always remain confidential and will only be used for the purposes outlined in these terms of engagement or in carrying out your instructions to us (unless disclosure is required by law or is necessary for debt collection purposes).
Verifying your identity, financial information etc.
Under the Financial Transactions Reporting Act 1996, Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 and the procedures for electronic registration of land transactions, we are legally required to obtain and independently verify various personal information about you and your matter. Our practices are regularly audited. Sometimes we may be required to report your transaction to the relevant authorities. Please do not be offended if we ask for verification of your identity, your banking details, source of your wealth, your family circumstances, or similar.
Storing of records
We will retain your file in electronic form for at least the minimum period required by law. We will also retain any original documents we agree to hold for you in safe custody, i.e. deeds, wills etc. The papers or documentation produced by us in the course of acting on your instructions are the property of this firm.
If you have any concerns or complaints that you prefer not to raise with the partner named in the attached letter with overall responsibility for this matter, then please refer your complaint to our accountant, Barry Turner. He may be contacted by letter, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephoning 09 445 3058. We are committed to resolving any issues as soon as possible and complaints will be dealt with at no cost to you.
You can also contact the New Zealand Law Society Lawyers' Complaints Service, phone 0800 261 801.
Professional indemnity insurance
We hold Professional Indemnity Insurance cover that meets or exceeds the minimum standards as specified by the New Zealand Law Society.
Lawyers' Fidelity Fund
New Zealand Law Society maintains the Lawyers' Fidelity Fund for the purposes of providing clients of lawyers with protection against pecuniary loss arising from theft by lawyers. The maximum amount payable by the Fidelity Fund by way of compensation to an individual claimant is limited to $100,000. Except in certain circumstances specified in the Lawyers & Conveyancers Act 2006, the Fidelity Fund does not cover a client for any loss relating to money that a lawyer is instructed to invest on behalf of the client.
Client care and service
New Zealand Law Society prescribes client care and service obligations which require that, whatever legal services your lawyer is providing, he or she must:
The obligations lawyers owe to clients are described in the Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers, subject to other overriding duties, including duties to the courts and to the justice system.
If you have any questions about these client care and service obligations, please visit www.lawsociety.org.nz or telephone 0800 261 801.
Cockcroft d'Young Moorhouse Limited Lawyers | +64 9 445 3058